Buying a new notebook as editing system(need hardware tipps)

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Buying a new notebook as editing system(need hardware tipps)

Postby Bauzi » Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:56 am

Hey there,

I would like to buy a new editing system and I thought about a notebook this time, because I want to study digital video editing this year and I need mobility for my editing system. Before you suggest it: No, I don´t want a Mac :| Unless you give me some REALLY good reasons to switch.

I need some help with choosing the right hardware. I better write now about the stuff that I have in my mind. The questions come later:

2,40 Ghz Dual Core 6MB Cache
17" display 16:10
512 MB graphic card with 1920x... ressolution (I can´t remeber now :P )
100 GB harddisk with 5400 rpm for software
250 GB harddisk with 7200 rpm for videos
4GB DDR3 RAM
FireWire port
Windows XP 64bit

What are exactly the parts of my new systems that I should take care of?

CPU Cache + Speed? Has the Cache size a significant impact on preformance?
DDR3 over DDR2 for sure?
1920x... ressolution all the way?
5400 rpm for software disc is too low?
Windows XP 64bit over Windows Vista 64bit and a Linux distribution (I want to continue to use Adobe products though)?
Are there any good internal video cards for notebooks?
Are there any good external video card devices?
eSATA a must today?

Turbo Memory Moduls with 2GB-4GB: Do they have an impact on preformance or are they just some more or less useless extras for editing? :|


Money doesn´t play a role for now. I will reduce the hardware power afterwards to fit into my pice area.
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Re: Buying a new notebook as editing system(need hardware tipps)

Postby kmv » Wed Jan 28, 2009 4:54 pm

Bauzi wrote:Before you suggest it: No, I don´t want a Mac

I switched about two years ago and I really like it. A like for like spec'd mac laptop was (last time I looked) about the same price as a Dell. However, that is only the hardware. In switching to a Mac you will have to buy new software and that pushes the cost up. As good as iMovie is, Premier Pro it is not.

Bauzi wrote:CPU Cache + Speed? Has the Cache size a significant impact on preformance?

Not for editing. However, where CPU + cache can have a big effect is encoding (and rendering) so more is better in this respect. That said, modern CPUs (e.g. 2+ Ghz Core 2 Duo) are extremely good, you do not need to buy latest power monster to wind up with a very good experience.

Bauzi wrote:DDR3 over DDR2 for sure?

DDR2 is fine, don't bother with the extra expense. In real life they tend to come out pretty close to each other.
http://xtreview.com/review217.htm
http://www.breakitdownblog.com/ddr2-800 ... ed-matter/

Bauzi wrote:1920x... ressolution all the way?

You mean 1920x1200. Ask yourself these questions: Do you want to work with HD1080p without scaling? Do you have HD players, cameras, and TVs?
If: "yes", then go for it. If: "no, 720p is just dandy", or "I don't do HD", or "I don't care" then go for 1440x900.

Bauzi wrote:5400 rpm for software disc is too low?

Not for editing, it is just fine. Where you notice it is when you start lobbing 100's gig's of data around. Will you do this on a regular basis? Will you be mirroring your drive a lot? If: "yes" then go for the 7200. If "no" then only do it if you can afford it.

Bauzi wrote:Windows XP 64bit over Windows Vista 64bit and a Linux distribution (I want to continue to use Adobe products though)?

I can't comment here.

Bauzi wrote:Are there any good internal video cards for notebooks?

Yes. Think about the output options you may want: DVI vs. HDMI? (remember that DVI does not include audio, HDMI does), do you need S-VHS?

Bauzi wrote:Are there any good external video card devices?

Yes, in both PCMCIA and Express Card options, but why would you? Assuming you get a video card that supports a second display (which is very likely) the only reason to do this is to add a second external display, i.e. to have THREE screens. Why? Are you _that_ addicted to flight simulators?

Bauzi wrote:eSATA a must today?

There are good eSATA express cards out there (which is what I use) so you don't have to get a laptop with it built in. From an editing perspective I haven't noticed too much of a difference between eSATA and good old Firewire. You will never notice it during encoding (because it is so CPU bound). However, you do notice when coping stuff to and from external disks - it does make a big difference there.

Bauzi wrote:Turbo Memory Moduls with 2GB-4GB: Do they have an impact on preformance or are they just some more or less useless extras for editing? :|

Don't know, I don't use Vista.


Bauzi wrote:Money doesn´t play a role for now.

Really? Can I have some? :D
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Re: Buying a new notebook as editing system(need hardware tipps)

Postby BasharOfTheAges » Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:25 pm

kmv wrote:
Bauzi wrote:Windows XP 64bit over Windows Vista 64bit and a Linux distribution (I want to continue to use Adobe products though)?

I can't comment here.

Unless you're lucky 64bit XP is shit. It's configured and supported so that a number of programs and drivers for a whole host of products will install 32-bit XP versions and think everything's alright before causing major system instabilities. For 4 years I dealt with random system crashes, bluescreens, and start-up reboot cycles, all of which were traced to 64-bit XP. Now i'm not blaming the OS, but even if it's the developers that are fucking shit up, you still have to deal with the problems.
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Re: Buying a new notebook as editing system(need hardware tipps)

Postby Bauzi » Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:31 pm

Now that´s a great help. Well you can have some of my money now because I won´t waste that much. :P

I´ll downgrade the wished notebook a lot now.

1920x1200:
I´ll stick to 1620x... (or whatever it is) for now, because I don´t think that 1080p is really the thing to go with a notebook, but I do want to change to 720p editing.

harddisks:
So one 54000rpm with software and footage is decent preformance?

Mac:
Eh... yeah it´s more about the software and the "getting used" to it. It´s not my cup of tea. I´m fine with Windows or Linux.

video card:
Sorry I meant: video capture card

display:
I think I´ll downgrade here too. One of my friends had a great idea. When I´m at home I just could set up a decent monitor for my notebook. Monitor + notebook would mean... two screens for editing too, right?

Turbo Memory Moduls:
I asked one of my friends today: It´s something like an usb stick you plug in. Vista can use it as external RAM. ~okay~ :|

@Bashar:
I´m in a academic network due to my current studies. I got one license for a lot of Windows OS. So I can switch if XP 64bit is crap. One of my friends at work has XP 64bit on his notebook and is really pleased. Well he´s a good programer so I think he would notice bullshit on his system.
On the other hand he isn´t a video editor. Do you mean editing programs or programs in general?

Well seams like I´ll spare a lot of money for my dream system. Again, thank you!!!
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Re: Buying a new notebook as editing system(need hardware tipps)

Postby kmv » Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:56 pm

Bauzi wrote:1920x1200:
I´ll stick to 1620x... (or whatever it is) for now, because I don´t think that 1080p is really the thing to go with a notebook, but I do want to change to 720p editing.

That would be 1440x900.

Bauzi wrote:harddisks:
So one 54000rpm with software and footage is decent preformance?

It is fine, yes.
Just had a thought on this though: Your choice of virus scanner can actually effect things here, depending upon what you use it can actually make disk load times (and the rest of the system) feel much slower. For example: Norton's.

Bauzi wrote:display:
[...] Monitor + notebook would mean... two screens for editing too, right?

Yes. Just make sure that the display card in the laptop can do it - although you'd be hard pressed to find one that didn't.


One other thought regarding my comments on Express Cards (e.g. for eSATA support): If you do decide to go for this approach remember to make sure that the laptop actually has an express card slot. In general, they will either have a PCMCIA slot or an express card slot, but not both. In my opinion you should go for express card; it's the future.
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Re: Buying a new notebook as editing system(need hardware tipps)

Postby BasharOfTheAges » Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:22 pm

Bauzi wrote:I´m in a academic network due to my current studies. I got one license for a lot of Windows OS. So I can switch if XP 64bit is crap. One of my friends at work has XP 64bit on his notebook and is really pleased. Well he´s a good programer so I think he would notice bullshit on his system.
On the other hand he isn´t a video editor. Do you mean editing programs or programs in general?


I mean things like hardware drivers for MP3 players, DVD drives, ISO tools for image mounting / burning, certain disk management software, etc. I had a host of things that just didn't work or did work and caused problems down the road that could be traced to faulty software and device drivers. I never had any issues with compilers, IDEs, etc. If you're questioning my anecdotal authority based on a perceived notion of inexperience, I will say that I am a software engineer for a multi-billion dollar company. I really don't think that matters, but your response suggests to me that it might.
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Re: Buying a new notebook as editing system(need hardware tipps)

Postby NeoQuixotic » Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:17 pm

If you're going to go 64-bit go with Vista. The support for XP 64-bit is horrid compared to Vista 64-bit. And a Mac is nice, gives you both worlds since the switch to Intel CPUs. The main problem with a Mac is the Apple tax, especially on the MacBook Pros :?. One thing to note when using a laptop to edit, I find it really nice to edit my projects on an external drive with either Firewire 800 or eSata. This way you can edit on your laptop and easily switch to your desktop or some other machine. If you are going to truly get serious about video editing for a career, you need to know both Final Cut Pro and some form of Avid. In the field you'll either be using Final Cut or Avid, it is very rare to find somewhere that uses Premiere or Vegas. I personally loathe Avid, but will have to learn it, but find Final Cut very nice. Final Cut is OS X only, but Avid comes in flavors on OS X and Windows, so a Mac is a very good investment. You could always be crazy and try to use Final Cut on a Hackintosh, but have fun with reliability.
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Re: Buying a new notebook as editing system(need hardware tipps)

Postby Bauzi » Thu Jan 29, 2009 3:33 am

@Bashar:
No, no. I didn´t want to say that your opinion is not worth or something like that.

I think I´ll try XP 64bit first and if it´s not working I just take my Vista 64bit licesense.

@annubisx00:
That´s what I want to avoid. I don´t want to buy a Mac because of one program or because the branche tells me that I have to use one. That´s not my cup of tea. For now I want to stick with my OS of choice. Later... well I don´t think that there will be a away to avoid a Mac and that´s annoying.
Wich means that I prefer to learn Avid for now :|
I do know that Premiere Pro or Vegas alone isn´t that good, but I think it makes with After Effects, Photoshop and a view other programs a good environment.

Storage... Well I have a 1TB external drive with USB. It´s more a storage for now. This notebook will replace my editing PC from 2005 for now. There will be a better PC in a few years or something, but the main project will remain on the notebook.

@kmv:
Yeah I´ll have a look for those eSATA solutions. Thx!
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Re: Buying a new notebook as editing system(need hardware tipps)

Postby Bauzi » Thu Jan 29, 2009 3:41 am

Oh man... a Mac Book Pro would cost me (as student):
15": 2.069,41 €
17": 2.299,08 €

Well that´s without the needed software.

:| Eh... no thx. I really have issues with Apple.
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Re: Buying a new notebook as editing system(need hardware tipps)

Postby Athena » Thu Jan 29, 2009 5:30 am

Those are MacBook Pros, not MacBooks.

MacBooks are 13" and come in White and Unibody. Unibody lacks firewire, is a little more powerful, but decently more expensive.

I just bought a MacBook White because I absolutely insisted on firewire, and tossed in 4GBs of ram. It has a 2.1Ghz core duo. Some of the specs you ask for, like two harddrives, just is not going to happen in a laptop. Be it Apple or anything else.

For the record, I edit on my MacBook White every day for between four and six hours, and the only lack I have found on it is the lack of harddrive space. At 120Gbs, it is definitely not enough, however, I have plans to add a 7200rpm drive at as high as I can. Overall, I could get a system more powerful, with more storage than the new unibody for the same price. And the new 13" Unibody lacks firewire. Firewire removed from a MacBook? Blasphemy Apple, blasphemy.

Oh, did I mention the MacBook White just got a new GPU a few nights ago, and is still only $999?
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Re: Buying a new notebook as editing system(need hardware tipps)

Postby Willen » Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:22 pm

Kionon wrote:Some of the specs you ask for, like two harddrives, just is not going to happen in a laptop. Be it Apple or anything else.

Some 17" and 18.4" desktop replacement notebooks (which really stretch the term) can be equipped with dual hard drives, usually in a RAID 0 (striped) configuration. As such, they can be re-formatted as RAID 1 (mirrored) for redundancy.

Dell offers dual HDD options in their Studio 17 and XPS M1730 series laptops and their Alienware division offers many models with that option (a few even offer the option of 3 drives!).

HP offers dual HDD options in their Pavilion HDX18t and dv7t series laptops.

Sony offers dual HDD options in their AW series laptops.

With the new 500GB 2.5" 4200 rpm drives these units can now rival many desktop configurations (500GB x2 = 1TB). Albeit with lower performance. :|
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Re: Buying a new notebook as editing system(need hardware tipps)

Postby Athena » Thu Jan 29, 2009 5:35 pm

Willen wrote:Some 17" and 18.4" desktop replacement notebooks (which really stretch the term)


Yeah, if I can't balance it on my lap, it is not a laptop. Guess it is still a notebook, and therefore relevant to Bauzi's interest, but I needed portability over an excess of power, was willing to go down to a smaller screen for it, and my MacBook is quicker than my desktop. I think if he were to order a MacBook White, toss a 500GB harddrive into it and add 4GBs of ram, he would be surprised at how fast it goes. He could even add parallels or boot camp and run windows. I use parallels to run Adobe Premiere 6.5 side by side with my mac versions of photoshop, etc, because running the mac version in rosetta is actually slower.

All in all, it may not fit what he needs. Mileage may, and will, vary. However, I think dismissing MacBooks out of hand is silly.
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Re: Buying a new notebook as editing system(need hardware tipps)

Postby BasharOfTheAges » Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:17 pm

You seem to want the power and performance of a desktop system in your laptop. Unless you're constantly traveling, you'd be better served by building a desktop system and buying a small netbook for on-the-go portability. It'd probably end up being cheaper too. When you go high-end and do lots of work you have no battery life and need to be tethered to a wall for your external HDDs anyways.
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Re: Buying a new notebook as editing system(need hardware tipps)

Postby Bauzi » Fri Jan 30, 2009 4:13 am

@Basher:
I won´t by a netbook for sure. It was somehow my original plan to replace my desktop system with a strong notebook, but it gets more and more unrealistic. This notebook will replace my desktop PC for some time, but it´s better to buy a 1000 bucks or less system afterwards if I really need it.

I trust Kmv when he says that I don´t need that much of power to have a good editing experience and I can also replace the 17" display when I just by a monitor for my home and plug it into my notebook.

So all in all my wish looks like this:
15"-17"
320GB - 500GB with 5400rpm
512MB Graphiccard with 1680 x 1050
4GB DDR2 RAM

wich will cost me around 1200 to 1400 bucks

I think dismissing MacBooks out of hand is silly.

It´s just that it really isn´t my cup of tea. I´m fine with Windows or Linux.
Apple has a certain image and the users have a certain feeling to have a Mac and to be part of the Apple community. I can´t indentify with it. Yeah I know that this is somehow silly now. :|
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Re: Buying a new notebook as editing system(need hardware tipps)

Postby the Black Monarch » Fri Jun 05, 2009 7:53 pm

You will want:

Windows XP Professional (Home can't handle multi-core and Vista just plain sucks)
The fastest dual-core CPU available (XP Pro can only use 2 cores)
A high-resolution screen
DDR2-1066 or faster memory

Not much else matters. You probably won't be using more than 2GB of RAM, nor will you notice any improvements in speed past DDR2-1066. The video card is wholly irrelevant, as it's not where the rendering and encoding are done. You're using an external hard drive, so HD size is irrelevant. Just get that 3.33GHz Wolfdale and a big screen, and you're gold.
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